I’m behind in getting this post published. Mid-November 2023, Sebastopol’s experiment with parklets came to a sad end.

The city council actually approved of the location being deconstructed above, be allowed to be made permanent. They spent a ridiculous amount of money, in the $35,000 range, to a ‘consultant’ to assemble design guidelines for parklets. After suggesting to the city council that this was not necessary and what they should do, and had done previously, was to adopt the San Francisco Shared Spaces Manual which is an excellent document. The expectations and requirements are very clear and there are a lot of great graphics and examples of built parklets. The guidelines we adopted here are pretty atrocious. But there you have it.

I think the real death knell from the council standpoint is what amounts to a ‘rent’ requirement from Caltrans for any parklet on Caltrans right-of-way, which both of our remaining parklets were. Caltrans was requiring a payment of $6,000 per year, per parklet. I find that particularly bogus as well, but instead of trying to fight it, or even try to fundraise as had been suggested, the council decided to remove them and leave it to someone else to propose a new parklet.

(If anyone is interested in helping to fight the rent requirement, I’d be totally down for that. Please contact me. The fact that Caltrans will allow cars to park in the space rent free, but then require a payment if the exact same space is used as a seating area is beyond comprehension.)

The parklets in town were well received and added such liveliness to our downtown, it is truly sad to see them gone. I’m not sure how anyone can think this

 

Is better than this.

Or this

 

is better than this.

I’ve been working on this for a long time, and I hate to admit it, but I’m worn down. Maybe someday I’ll get some renewed energy to push onward to establish parklets once again in downtown. For now, I’m just mourning their loss.